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01.12.2017 | Original investigation | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Cardiovascular Diabetology 1/2017

High density lipoprotein modulates osteocalcin expression in circulating monocytes: a potential protective mechanism for cardiovascular disease in type 1 diabetes

Cardiovascular Diabetology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Ernesto Maddaloni, Yu Xia, Kyoungmin Park, Stephanie D’Eon, Liane J. Tinsley, Ronald St-Louis, Mogher Khamaisi, Qian Li, George L. King, Hillary A. Keenan
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12933-017-0599-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality in type 1 diabetes (T1D). A pro-calcific drift of circulating monocytes has been linked to vascular calcification and is marked by the surface expression of osteocalcin (OCN). We studied OCN+ monocytes in a unique population with ≥50 years of T1D, the 50-Year Joslin Medalists (J50M).


CD45 bright/CD14+/OCN+ cells in the circulating mononuclear blood cell fraction were quantified by flow cytometry and reported as percentage of CD45 bright cells. Mechanisms were studied by inducing OCN expression in human monocytes in vitro.


Subjects without history of CVD (n = 16) showed lower levels of OCN+ monocytes than subjects with CVD (n = 14) (13.1 ± 8.4% vs 19.9 ± 6.4%, p = 0.02). OCN+ monocytes level was inversely related to total high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels (r = −0.424, p = 0.02), large (r = −0.413, p = 0.02) and intermediate (r = −0.445, p = 0.01) HDL sub-fractions, but not to small HDL. In vitro, incubation with OxLDL significantly increased the number of OCN+ monocytes (p < 0.01). This action of OxLDL was significantly reduced by the addition of HDL in a concentration dependent manner (p < 0.001). Inhibition of the scavenger receptor B1 reduced the effects of both OxLDL and HDL (p < 0.05).


Low OCN+ monocytes levels are associated with lack of CVD in people with long duration T1D. A possible mechanism for the increased OCN+ monocytes could be the elevated levels of oxidized lipids due to diabetes which may be inhibited by HDL. These findings suggest that circulating OCN+ monocytes could be a marker for vascular disease in diabetic patients and possibly modified by HDL elevation.
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